With the rise of animation in the film industry, many people often got tried of their work being aimed for younger audiences. Often times, animated films often try to go for a more adult oriented audience by having more mature themes and material added into their movies. Whether or not the results ended working is suggestive, but never-the-less they still try to prove they could please the older crowd. For the month of August, I’ve decided to take a look at some of these films dedicated to the adult audience in an event called The August of Adult Animation. To start things off, I decided to go with a very well known adult animated film from France known as Fantastic Planet.
Synopsis: In the future, the human race has been taken from Earth to a planet known as Ygam by a race of gigantic blue aliens known as Draags. On Ygam, the draags often see humans, which are referred to as Oms, as animals and are often used as playthings or pets. One human named Terr is taken as a pet after his mother is killed and is raised by a draag named Tiwa and is taught the ways of draag society. Shortly after, he leaves her care and joins with a group of humans to form a resistance against the draags using the knowledge he has learned about their culture.
The plot of the story is very reminiscent of the films of its time. Considering the ideas of people being unsatisfied in an Utopian society where they find a means of escape does feel like something that was a product of time with films like Logan’s Run and THX 1138 (not that it’s a bad thing) so it will have a sense of familiarity when watching it. Also with that in mind, it doesn’t really come off as unoriginal. The film does share some ideas but it has plenty of content that it makes itself its own entity without the feeling of un-originality.
The animation in the film is rather unique. It has a unique hand-drawn style with highly surreal landscapes and imagery that fit well with the film’s story and the characters are more so since the human animations looks like it’s multiple layers of paper on top of each other giving it a feeling of stop motion animation while the draags are in the same frame as the backgrounds which has a bit of a Terry Gilliam look to it. It’s definitely a welcome addition to a science fiction film.
One of the major ideas the film is often known for are its themes. Some of the bigger issues that many have found, myself included, throughout the film include animal abuse, human rights, racism, and a little bit of anti-war towards the end of the film. Considering the film’s overall backstory, it is very easy to see why that is the result. Humans in the film are, as mentioned, treated like animals. They are constantly being used for the draags amusement, they are often kept as pets, and are often sometimes killed on sight by them. Not to mention the fact the draags view themselves as the superior beings and disregard any notion of that with the humans. The ideas presented throughout the film can be quite thought-provoking and really do make the film all the more engaging.
Final Thoughts: It’s really good. It’s got some surreal animation, strangely likable jazz music, and some pretty heavy themes that really help make this movie stand out in the genre. It’s a definite must see if you’re an animation buff.